Five X-Factors For The 2024-25 Montreal Canadiens

Kirby Dach and Kaiden Guhle would be the two honourable mentions; as they are on the cusp of being as impactful as the five players mentioned. But leaving them off the list, speaks to the make up of the Habs roster.

Montreal Canadiens v Toronto Maple Leafs
Montreal Canadiens v Toronto Maple Leafs / Claus Andersen/GettyImages
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Nick Suzuki

Nick Suzuki
Florida Panthers v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

With his career-high 71 points and 32 points, Nick Suzuki's production hasn't been the best part of his season. His maturity and ability to adapt to the higher expectations and level of competition is the exact reason that he was named the captain of the Original Six Montreal Canadiens. He has taken everything in stride, and just when it seems he has reached his ceiling there is another gear that he finds.

This season, Suzuki has gotten all of the top matchups; as is expected for the number one centre. But he hasn't flinched or looked out of place, he has elevated his game to the level of a true number-one pivot. He has earned praise from Florida Panthers head coach Paul Maurice and Selke Trophy and Stanley Cup-winning centre Ryan O'Reilly for his brilliant 200-foot game.

Suzuki could have crumbled under the pressure, many talented players have excelled in other markets, but the pressure cooker of Montreal hockey ends up being too much. He also could focus on playing just a stout defensive game, which would be less responsibility and easier to focus on. But he has excelled in all three zones, all while mentoring his two younger linemates quite well.

This season has displayed exactly how good Suzuki can be; many questioned if he was able to score 70 points and he did. Others wondered if he is a good enough shooter to score 30 goals, he currently has 32 with a handful of games remaining. Any questions that have been asked, Suzuki has answered them on the ice, letting his play do the talking.

If the Canadiens want to be competitive next year, the first player that will take the brunt of that pressure will be Suzuki. He is no stranger to pressure, he relishes in it, as proven by his play in junior and then his transition to the NHL. During the Canadiens Stanley Cup run he also showed that he doesn't shy away when the level of competition rises.